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Updated: December 11, 2012 10:45 IST

Congress MLAs hit out at Kerala government

Special Correspondent
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Anoop Jacob
The Hindu Anoop Jacob

They alleged that the State government was a mere spectator even as hoarding and black marketing continued unchecked.

The State government came under fire at the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting here on Monday for its failure to effectively intervene in holding down the prices of essential commodities and to curb sand mafia which was ‘flourishing due to political patronage.’

The criticism, cutting across factional affiliations, clearly indicated the difficult times that the government is likely to face in the 10-day session of the State Assembly, virtually strengthening the hands of the Opposition LDF.

The Congress legislators indirectly targeted Food and Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob by pointing out to the failure of the State government in keeping its promise made in the previous session regarding tackling price rise by opening more fair price shops in each Assembly constituency.

They alleged that the State government was a mere spectator even as hoarding and black marketing continued unchecked.

The onslaught on the government was led by V.D. Satheesan, T.N. Pratapan, Hibi Eden, and K. Sivadasan Nair among others. With regard to illegal sand-mining in the rivers in the State, the Congress MLAs alleged that the sand mafia had the patronage of officials of the Revenue, Police, and Mining and Geology Departments; some political leaders; and elected representatives.

Pointing out to the attack on Kozhikode Collector Mohankumar, the MLAs said several leaders in the UDF were speaking on behalf of the sand mafia.

Fresh from the campaign for protection of the rivers, Mr. Satheesan and Mr. Pratapan were the most vocal legislators to put the government in the dock for the ‘unbridled growth of the illegal sand-mining business.’ The allowed quantity of sand had already been mined and the illegal mining had created craters on the river beds. At this rate, all the rivers in the State would die an untimely death, they said demanding firm steps instead of mere platitudes.

Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan claimed that there were no lapses on the part of the police in the attack on the Kozhikode Collector. The Collector had embarked on the raid without informing the police and had arrived on the scene of sand-mining in a private car. But the MLAs pointed to the police-sand mafia nexus. Mr. Satheesan and Mr. Pratapan made it clear that they would continue to express their views on policy decisions taken without prior discussions either in the Congress or the UDF and would oppose decisions that were against the interests of the State in party forums and outside.

Some of the MLAs, such as Varkala Kahar were critical of the Union Ministers who put the State government on the back foot by making adverse comments. Mr. Kahar also criticised the trend of Congress MLAs making their appearance on private television channels to air their views against the government.

In his reply, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy made it clear that the State government would soon announce a series of steps to tackle price rise. With regard to illegal sand-mining, Mr. Chandy said all efforts would be made to put down this activity.

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Allegations continue to haunt Anoop JacobFebruary 3, 2013

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